Liars and Cheaters

 Originally uploaded by cwdaniels.

See other shots from the behind the scenes of the film by clicking on the picture and going to “cwdaniels’ film stream”

I felt like I needed to get this all out tonight, or at least the first of a few spillings of the past three days of my life.  Not to sound contrived or forced, but in some ways my life will be measured differently from this point on.  As director for such a big production (this is said with tongue in cheek as we spent all of around $200.00 on the whole product) I learned how to lead, how to keep something moving toward a goal, how to love when totally exhausted, how to make art out of and bring to life a simple idea.  Tonight at 8:00 pm we finished the shooting of our film, Liars and Cheaters,  we started friday at 8:00 am and spent 35 hours in the past three days shooting.  It took 19 of us to pull this short film off, it took directors of photography, script supervisors, actors, extras, sound technicians, gaffers, key grips, grips, craft services and 4 locations.  I am extremely grateful that God afforded me such a unique opportunity, to write/direct/actor in a film, work with such awesome people, and have so many awesome things fall into place for it all to work out.  I am at this moment writing from all of my excitement, and pride.  I am in a sense proud that I was able to do this.  I don’t mean that my short is better than anyone elses, I don’t me that I as a director is better than any other student my age, I also don’t mean that this film will be good when it is out of the editing room because as any of you know that have done this in the past, editing can make or break a film.  On the other hand (from all this excitement) I found that me saying “that’s a rap” was anti-climactic.  I realized that what I had done was no different, no better or worse but yet I took it so seriously, I spent so much time, so much friend power, and worked so hard at it and why?  Why do I care so much if my film is good, or that it looks just right?  Why didn’t i make a 5 min short, in stead a 15 min one?  Why did I try to utilize so much prowess?  I may never make another short in my life?   I imagined for a moment, this being my first and last, and how hollow that made me feel, how inconsequential, how pointless it all seemed.  Then again, there is another part of me that wants to apply for film school, I am thinking of new ideas, I am driven to get better, write tighter, film more precise.

Friday we were at Paige Alloco’s.  We had a blast.  We took a long time, it was our first day, I was a virgin to the art of directing, knowing what the heck i was doing, a virgin made me naive, made me motivated to do things that anyone with a clue would never have done – shoot a 16 page script in 3 days.

Saturday the exhaustion kicked in around 1:00 am, everyone that there hit a lull, i felt like i was loosing everyone, that the film would be a flop.  But when we moved from Wall’s garage (a location) to the exterior of the warehouse, I in my “homeless lady” costume for my character in the movie, we gained speed again.  We started feeling the energy come back.  I can honestly say that this whole weekend was a blast.  I enjoyed every moment, every person, every “action,” every “cut,” every camera touch, every laughter and snap.  I in one sense felt “in my element” but I am afraid to admit it, I am afraid of what it does or doesn’t mean…

Sunday.  up at 8:30 and at the coffee shop at 9:30 am.  We started shooting at 10:15.  Today was the most fun, I had two days under my belt, the characters in the movie were dialoging together, there was more energy, more interaction, more laughter and more people to have a good time with.  the extras were there, we had great coffee given to us by Pasadena Coffee Company and wonderful food provided all weekend by my amazing wife Emily Daniels (craft services).  It felt real, professional, surreal in a sense, I felt like the real deal.  I felt like a phony also, but the surrealism of the atmosphere overpowered all that.

And so I sit here, getting this all out, hoping for a night of peaceful rest – for the first time in a week.  No anxiety, no shooting schedule, no extremely important shots that I can’t miss.  But before I do that I want to remember all that helped.

I couldn’t have do this weekend without a single person.  It is amazing how close a film team must be, how important each person is, how much of a difference everyone makes.  I really enjoyed working with matt taflan a director of photography on our first project together, I think we really work well together, we seem to understand each other, i trust his eye, his movements, he is a great cameraman, his eye is unstoppable.  Rafe’s gaffer abilities made our sets glow with color, warmth and realism.  Another thing is it helped speed up the process to have someone know what they are doing with lights. Richard’s help as personal assistant, running the slate board, keeping track of shots all was very important and his personality helped keep things light and enjoyable.  Eric’s acting as Dante was done so well, I loved it, I wrote that part for myself but He really was a wonderful Dante, I am glad he did the part.  Michelle’s experience in acting on stage, and great ability to edit made the who script, and acting come together in a way that I couldn’t have imagined without her.  She was so awesome, and i love her ability to just say whatever she needs to say, its nice to have someone who doesn’t hold anything back on you – i needed that too.  Will’s ability really came out in the last three days of shooting, and he added a ton to the shoot – not to mention all the work he did behind the scenes as boom-man and do whatever else needs to be done guy.  Chris sikoworski’s experience in real film helped up take a student film with no-experience to one that will look much more professional – and if it doesn’t you can blame him…but really he was a huge help as a director of photography.  The there is Selena who was fabulous as Dana the unfaithful wife, an petite asian girl dress up as a trashy 80’s “has been.”  She also helped keep track of shots which was greatly needed.  Rob her husband was a great key grip and extra and I always love having rob around, he is brilliant and brilliantly funny.  Dave the barista made our whole shoot possible because he offered to work at his coffee shop today from 9:15 to 8:00pm tonight for free, as a service to us, he also served us coffee, played a small role, and was a huge help in taking behind the scenes photos.  My wife made it all possible also because she fed up, and boy is it hard to shoot a film when you have nothing in your tummy, she was also very selfless in giving me up for the past…well month.  She is also my biggest fan and keeps imaging “if…”  the only two i haven’t said anything about are Julianne and Joel my two prized extras, how much they were needed for such small roles, thanks to the both of you and I was just happy to have both your personalities there with us.  And also thank you soooo much Paige for giving us your house for a day and half I am not really sure what we would have done if you said no…and plus your house was sooo photogenic.  Oh and Wall your garage was awesome, thanks for letting us use it, and stab knives into its walls…oh did you know we were going to do that?

Okay for those of you who weren’t there, I realize that last paragraph was really cheesy but I wanted to say something about everyone so that I could remember how much I appreciated them all, what they did and let them know that I am more thankful than I personally can express.